A campaign to find out how much residents are overpaying housing associations for service charges has uncovered almost £2 million in overcharges in the space of just a few months.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced social housing rent rises would be capped at 7 per cent in April. But there has been no such protection in place for service charges which cover utilities and maintenance in communal areas as well as services housing associations provide, but can rise by an unlimited amount.
Social justice platform Find Others, working with campaigners Social Housing Action Campaign (SHAC), launched its campaign to tally up just how much residents are overpaying in January and has since found tenants have overpaid £2m over the past few years.
The group is hoping to hear from more than 1,000 tenants to build up a nationwide picture of how tenants are being affected amid a wave of residents going on service charge strike across England.
Get the latest news and insight into how the Big Issue magazine is made by signing up for the Inside Big Issue newsletter
Suzanne Muna, SHAC secretary, said: “Service charge abuse has been going on within the housing association sector for years, and has reached a point where tenants and residents are no longer prepared to tolerate it. It is one of the top two causes of complaints from our members, often combined with a declining standards of service and an increase in disrepairs.